Saturday, February 16, 2008

Staying Relevant During a Value Shopping Trend

As we tally up our numbers and close the books on 2007 one things is clear, increasing commodity prices and decreasing consumer confidence have impacted our consumers as much as they impacted us. If your brand is a value player then you may have seen a bump in sales even as your bottom line has been getting squeezed. If you are a mid-range or premium brand you probably felt the pinch on the top line as well as the bottom line as your loyal consumers become more conservative in their shopping habits and trade down to the value brands.

So is there anything you can do with your recipe marketing plan to help stop this trend? Absolutely! No consumer wants to trade down. As a general rule you can bank on the fact that we consumers don't like denying ourselves our favorite foods even when money is tight. Your consumer needs for you to show her how she can affordable incorporate that indulgent product back into her families normal eating routine. This is a great time to offer what I like to call "stretch recipes". "Stretch recipes" use several ingredients to stretch the more expensive ingredient into more servings. For example let's say you are selling a premium refrigerated pasta product and you find that consumers who were purchasing your tortellini for a center of the plate entree are now trading down to a more affordable dry tortellini. You could feature a recipe campaign that focus on side dish applications for your product. The same package of product then goes from serving 2 main dishes to 4 side dishes. If the recipes incorporates some vegetables or other ingredients then the dish feels substantial and mom gets to feel good about serving this affordable indulgence to her family again. Don't worry, when consumer confidence picks up and the purse strings loosen up again you can go back to steering consumers towards center of the plate applications that incorporate more of your delicious product in each serving.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Healthier Eating in 2008

It is no secret that America has a weight issue. According to an IRI Times and Trends report, nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers are overweight to obese. The good news for our ever growing waist lines is that as many as 75% of consumers report that they are making changes to their diets in effort to eat healthier (sometimes referred to as the Better-For-You trend). Of course we know that what consumers say they are going to do and what really do are two different things, but that is a separate issue.

While I would not suggest that you should totally revamp your brand to match the Better-For-You trend (that would be a much larger branding question than what I am addressing), but you should consider adding a few healthier recipe and usage suggestions to your marketing arsenal. For example you could develop recipes that incorporate your product into a salad or a vegetable side dish or use whole grains like barley in the dish. Not only can these new healthy options draw in new more health conscious consumers who would have never considered using you product, they can keep you product relevant to consumers who may be considering healthy lifestyle changes.